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Finally, I owe an incalculable debt to my family, who have tolerated a great deal so that I could complete this thesis, and given me much joy in the process. Abstract THE BRAHMAYAMALATANTRA AND EARLY SAIVA CULT OF YOGINl S Shaman Hatley Dissertation supervisor: Harunaga Isaacson The present thesis comprises a study of the Brahmayamalatantm, a scripture of early me- dieval tantric or "esoteric" Saivism, and its cult of yoginis: flying, shapeshifting female deities whose occult powers practitioners sought in visionary, transactional encounters. t text passage deemed corrupt, for which no conjecture is offered (i) . The other extant codices of the Brahmayamala (hereafter Bra Ya), also of Nepalese provenance, all appear to descend from this eleventh-century manuscript.
Composed prior to the ninth century, and perhaps considerably earlier, this unpublished work of one- hundred and one chapters and more than 12,500 verses constitutes one of the most signifi- cant sources for the study of early Saiva ritual and goddess cults. 56 2.8 Siva and the Seven Mother goddesses (detail). Ellora, Ramesvara cave temple, west wall of Mother- goddess shrine. 4 r") identifies text for which the reading adopted seems insecure t. 3 Although the scripture itself was not com- posed in Nepal, 4 no complete manuscript appears today to survive outside of this 1 nak accession no. See the ms's description in the introduction to the critical edition.
Sachindra Nath Siddhanta, A Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Varendra Research Museum Library, vol. The material published from the Varendra Bra Ya codex narrates the journey of the Brahmanical sage Vasistha to "Mahaclna," where the inebriated Buddha instructs him in "the Chinese method" ( cindcara ) for the worship of Tara.
As )oel Bordeaux brought to my attention (personal communication.
The typesetting of the critical edition of the Brahmayamala using DTp X was in no small measure enabled by technical help from Dr. Fortunately, the product of his labors found its way into the manuscript collections of Nepalese royalty, and is today housed in the National Archives in Kathmandu.
Somadeva Vasudeva, from whom I have learned much concerning Saivism as well. 1 But for this, precious little knowledge of a vast and important pre ninth-century work would have been possible, 2 a fate which has befallen all too many works of tantric literature.
It is possible that the old Bra Ya continued to have a place in Nepalese tradition into the early twentieth century; Haraprasad Sastrl, who more than a century ago cataloged the oldest codex of the Bra Ya, reports on views of the text then current in Nepal: "in the opinion of the Pandits of Nepal the full texts of Brahma Yamala is a lakh and a quarter of slokas, and that it belongs to all the six schools of Tantra.29